(JTA) — Reaching out to Muslims is not the task of NASA, the White House spokesman said.
During a press briefing Monday, Robert Gibbs said that NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s statement during a June 30 interview with Al Jazeera that he was charged to reach out to the Muslim world was incorrect.
"That was not his task, and that’s not the task of NASA," Gibbs said.
Gibbs said that Obama has not spoken to Bolden since the interview in an effort to clear things up. Asked if anyone at the White House had spoken to Bolden, Gibbs replied: "I’m sure people — people at the White House here talk to NASA all the time."
The White House and NASA last week stood behind Bolden.
Bolden also has asserted on previous occasions that he was charged by Obama with outreach to Muslim countries.